What Causes Excess Skin and How to Treat It

The skin is the largest organ of the body and plays an essential role in appearance and protection for the body. You need your skin, but unfortunately, excess skin is a common problem and can be aesthetically unappealing and uncomfortable. What causes excess skin? And what treatments are available to correct the issue?

What Causes Excess Skin?

When you’re young, the skin is tight and elastic. As you age, this changes. Many adults struggle with skin that appears loose, saggy, droopy, or deflated. Many factors contribute to the development of loose skin, but some primary causes of the condition include:

  • Weight Loss – If you’re overweight, losing weight is great for your health and appearance, but can lead to lax soft tissue. Fat stretches out the skin, and when you lose weight, the skin doesn’t always contract back to its original size. For small weight fluctuations, you probably won’t see a difference, but those that lose a large amount of weight, like after bariatric surgery, may have a significant amount of hanging tissue in certain problem areas. Diet and exercise won’t shrink this extra skin.


  • Pregnancy – The abdomen rapidly expands during pregnancy to accommodate a growing baby. After the baby is born, the abdomen deflates, often leaving extra skin behind. Stretch marks, common after pregnancy, are small tears and a sign that the skin is no longer as elastic as it once was.


  • Aging – As you get older, collagen and elastin stores deplete. Since collagen and elastin act as supportive, connective tissues, this causes the skin to become loose and relaxed. In the face, fat deposits shift, and the face loses volume. Aging changes the skin on both the face and body.


Your genetics, skin quality, and even your sunscreen habits can affect your skin and its firmness or lack thereof. In many cases, excess skin isn’t preventable or reversible. Topical treatments aren’t very effective at treating this skin condition either.

The Problems with Excess Skin

Too much skin in certain parts of the body can lead to discomfort, rashes, infections, and other problems. Some of the most significant concerns associated with excess skin include:

  • Aesthetic – Many patients dislike their appearance after developing loose tissue. They may feel embarrassed or frustrated by their appearance, especially when wearing swimwear or fitted clothing.


  • Difficulty Exercising– Excess skin can make exercise uncomfortable, especially during cardio routines, where the body is moving rapidly to increase heart rate.


  • Clothing Doesn’t Fit Properly – Many patients complain that they have difficulty finding clothing that fits properly over the excess skin. It can be challenging to find clothes that are both comfortable and flattering.


  • Rashes, Odor, or Infection – Bacteria can build up under skin folds, which causes these embarrassing side effects.


  • Low Self-Confidence – We want our patients to be happy with their appearance, but the excess skin around the stomach, arms, and thighs can make this a challenge for many.


  • Discomfort – Many patients complain of chafing, rashes, and other daily difficulties that impede comfort due to excess skin.


What Can I Do About Extra Skin?

We see stunning results with both surgical and non-surgical options. One of the most effective options for treating excess skin is removing it. We offer a variety of lifts that can be used to remove excess skin from head to toe including:

These procedures reshape and contour the treated areas. We can often pair lifts together to treat multiple areas as needed. Removing skin is best for moderate to severe skin sagging. After bariatric surgery, patients may need multiple lifts. After pregnancy, we typically recommend a tummy tuck and breast lift as part of a mommy makeover.

If you have less severe levels of skin laxity, we may be able to tighten tissue with less invasive treatment. SkinTite by JPlasma is a revolutionary technology that firms skin and by improving the quality of the dermis.  It restores elasticity. It combines liposuction and radiofrequency to meet patients’ aesthetic goals. This is a great option for patients that want to avoid invasive surgery.  SkinTite requires very little downtime.

Excess skin is common, but also very treatable. Learn about your surgical and non-surgical options for treating loose, sagging skin at MAE Plastic Surgery. Dr. Epstein and Dr. Krochmal will help you choose the best procedures for your aesthetic goals. Call today!